You may know it as the Big Apple or the City that Never Sleeps, but no matter who you are, you have probably dreamed of going to New York. The city remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with travelers flocking to the majestic metropolis from across the globe.
September remains one of the best months to visit New York. Many tourist attractions are in full swing during the waning days of summer and the beginning of autumn, and you will find no shortage of things to do. But what sort of weather should you expect on your September vacation to New York. We will look at everything you need to know about the weather and how best to dress for the occasion.
What Is New York Weather Like in September?
New York is a city with cold and wet winters and humid summers. Meteorologists define the climate as being humid subtropical and humid continental. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS) monitor the weather in New York primarily from Central Park.
Meteorologists have collected climate data in Central Park since 1821, and NOAA has opened new monitoring stations at JFK Airport and LaGuardia Airport.
Before looking at specifics, it is important to remember that New York’s weather is often extreme. Many days will be normal, but a day with precipitation or winds could perhaps see massive downpours or gale-force winds. When traveling to New York, you should prepare for the weather to change quickly and potentially turn hostile.
September represents the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. The fall equinox occurs on September 22, so expect temperatures to likely be more moderate at the end of September than at the beginning of the month.
The average high temperature in New York in September is 76.2 degrees, according to NOAA. The average low comes in at 62.7 degrees, and you can expect the average temperature to hang around 69.2 degrees.
The highest temperature meteorologists recorded in New York during September was 102 degrees in 1953. The coldest it has ever gotten was 39 degrees more than 100 years ago. For more contemporary data collected in the past 30 years, the highest recorded temperature was 89 degrees, and the coldest temperature was 50.2 degrees.
Compared to the rest of the state, New York typically has milder temperatures during the four seasons. The Atlantic Ocean balances the weather, which keeps temperatures from fluctuating too much.
As September still falls in the wet and rainy summers, you can expect to see some rainfall during your trip to New York in that month. Rainfall is not as consistent as it is in the rest of the summer months, but September averages almost nine days of precipitation.
In a year, New York sees an average of 49.52 inches of precipitation, of which 4.31 inches come from September. The wettest September on record was in 1882 when the city saw 16.85 inches of rain for the month. Two years later, the city had its driest September with only 0.21 inches of precipitation.
The humidity in New York is quite high in the summer, and September offers little relief for travelers and locals alike. The average humidity is around 73 percent for the month, leading to muggy days and nights. While not as oppressive as higher humidity levels, 73 percent is enough to cause discomfort. If traveling to New York in September, be ready to sweat throughout the trip.
For those worried about the snow, you can rest easy that September is still too early for any snowfall in the city. While New York sees plenty of snow in the winter months that lead to a picturesque cityscape, it rarely snows outside of the coldest months of the year.
It has never snowed in New York during September, and the earliest you can expect to see snow in the city is in October. October only has 0.1 inches of snow on average as well, so it is nearly impossible to see any snowfall during your September trip.
Daylight and Sunshine
September is the final month of the year when there are more daylight hours than nighttime hours. Once the autumnal equinox occurs on September 22, the nights begin to be longer than the days. But for most of September, visitors to New York will get to enjoy an average of 12.4 hours of daytime daily.
As far as sunshine, September has the least amount of the summer months, with only 8.9 hours of sun per day in New York. June has 9.8 hours, July has 10.5 hours, and August has 10.4 hours on average. While it may be lower than the dog days of summer, there is still enough sunshine available on any given day for plenty of New York’s outdoor activities.
The temperature of the Atlantic Ocean begins to cool substantially in September, and you likely will not want to do more than dip your toe in the ocean when visiting New York. The average ocean temperature in September for the city stands at 70.2 degrees. While it is still warm enough that it is safe to swim in, most will find it far too cold.
The winds during New York summers are often not very strong and won’t be noticeable most of the time. They tend to dramatically increase in speeds during the autumn and winter months, though they are still mostly mild.
In September, the city sees an average wind speed of 7.3 miles per hour. In essence, you shouldn’t worry too much about the wind while planning your trip to New York in September.
Knowing the cloud cover gives you a strong idea of how much you will have to deal with direct sunlight and how much sunscreen you will need to pack. For September, New York has a cloud coverage percentage of about 34 percent. This means there will be direct sunlight for about 2/3 of any given day.
UV Index is a simple number meteorologist assigns to areas that combine several statistics. It gives travelers a single number that represents how hazardous the area is concerning ultraviolet radiation. The scale begins at one, which represents low risk. Any UV index above 11 is extremely dangerous, and anyone in the area should take extra precautions.
In September, New York has a UV index of six, placing it in the middle of the scale. This represents a high risk; when traveling to New York, you should prepare to take precautions against the sun, such as wearing long-sleeved clothes and applying sunscreen.
What Should You Pack To Wear in New York During a September Vacation?
Now that you know the general weather trends of the city, we can look at a few items you should bring with you during a September trip to New York. Of course, much of this is up to preference, as what might be considered a hot day to some may feel more moderate to others. However, these are some recommendations for what to wear.
Shirts and Tops
With the summer heat still permeating the city for most of September, short-sleeve shirts are a great choice to pack with you. Something made of a breathable fabric like cotton is likely to keep you cool during the hottest parts of the day. If you plan to take part in outdoor activities during the day, you can’t go wrong with a t-shirt.
Alternatively, if you want to protect your skin from the sun or plan on staying indoors for the day, a long-sleeve shirt will also work. Just make sure it is also a lighter fabric so you do not overheat during the times you are outside. Bringing both styles of shirts will also give you flexibility with the varied temperatures of September.
If you are taking part in the city’s famous nightlife, you should pack some form of jacket or outerwear. As daily low temperatures average around 62 degrees, keeping a jacket handy is a good idea to avoid getting too cold when out and about at night.
Bottoms are another choice that is up to preference. Depending on your heat resistance, you can pack shorts or long pants like jeans or leggings. If you intend to take in an afternoon baseball game or spend a lot of time in Central Park, both activities that may involve sitting in direct sunlight for hours, having a pair of shorts or a skirt will be valuable.
Wearing jeans or leggings will protect your legs from overexposure to the sun, and having them on hand for cooler nights is always a good idea. While this is up to your preference, having both styles of pants on hand will give you options to deal with temperature fluctuations.
Wearing a hat is a great way to protect your head and face from the sun. While not required, a hat will help keep you cooler and safe from the ultraviolet rays. Anything from a bucket hat to a baseball cap will suffice to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your head.
While it may sound obvious, bringing sunscreen is a must when visiting any place that is warm and filled with sunshine. September in New York still has enough sun that keeping yourself protected from it is a must. Pack sunscreen and apply it frequently when outside. With so many activities to do outside and the ability to walk almost everywhere, you will likely spend plenty of time on the streets of the Big Apple, necessitating sunscreen use.
Frequently Asked Questions
We will look at a few questions people typically have about visiting New York in September.
Is September a good time to visit New York?
Yes! September is an excellent time to visit the city. The summer warmth has cooled down, and the days are mostly pleasant.
Is it too hot in September?
The temperature is mostly mild in September, and most visitors will find it comfortable on most days. It will occasionally get too hot for some, but intelligent packing will leave you with enough change of clothes to withstand the temperature fluctuations.
New York remains a tourist capital of the world, and September is a perfect time to visit the city. While you will have to deal with the occasional very hot or very wet days, the summer heat will have died down, and you will have a comfortable vacation.
If you’re heading to New York for a family vacation, check out our guide exploring the best kid-friendly restaurants in Times Square.